- - Thursday, July 21, 2011


Bankruptcy judge OKs Borders liquidation

Borders Group’s liquidation plan is set to proceed after receiving approval from a bankruptcy judge.

A judge on Thursday approved the 40-year-old bookseller’s plan to appoint liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group to sell off its assets. Going-out-of-business sales are set to begin at some stores Friday.

About 30 to 35 of the stores could be sold to rival chain Books-a-Million Inc., but the two companies are still in talks.

Books-A-Million, based in Birmingham, Ala., will become the second-largest U.S. bookseller after Borders liquidates. It operates more than 200 stores in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Borders, in Ann Arbor, Mich., filed for bankruptcy protection in February. It said earlier this week it planned to liquidate after a potential private-equity bid fell through.


Crude tops $100 for first time since early June

NEW YORK | Oil topped $100 per barrel on Thursday for the first time since early June on an improving outlook for the U.S. economy, and European leaders moved closer to agreement on more financial aid for Greece.

The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.3 percent in June. The increase suggested the economy won’t fall back into a recession over the next few months, even with high unemployment and a weak housing market.

Officials in Europe prepared a new rescue package for Greece at an emergency summit in Brussels. The move strengthened the euro relative to the dollar. Oil, which is priced in dollars, tends to rise as the dollar weakens and makes crude cheaper for investors holding foreign currencies.


Lobbying bill tops $2 million

SAN FRANCISCO | Google Inc.’s quarterly lobbying expenses surpassed $2 million for the first time during the spring and early summer amid U.S. government scrutiny that hatched a wide-ranging investigation into the Internet search leader’s business practices.

The company spent $2.06 million trying to make its points with lawmakers and regulators during the April-June period, a 54 percent increase from $1.34 million at the same time last year, according to documents filed late Wednesday.

This year’s second-quarter lobbying bill is by far the largest that Google has run up since opening its Washington, D.C., office in 2005 to push its agenda. The previous high came during the first three months of the year when Google’s poured $1.48 million into its lobbying efforts.


Express Scripts will buy rival Medco

NEW YORK | Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits management companies, said Thursday they will combine in a deal worth $29.1 billion in cash and stock.

The companies manage prescription drug benefits and look for ways to cut costs for health plan sponsors and members. Combined, they handled more than 1.7 billion prescriptions in 2010 and reported almost $110 billion in revenue.

Express Scripts of St. Louis will buy its rival for $71.36 per share. Medco’s shareholders will get $28.80 per share in cash and 0.81 shares of Express Scripts for each share they own. That’s a premium of 27.9 percent based on Medco’s closing price of $55.78 Wednesday. Shares of the Franklin Lakes, N.J., company have traded between $43.45 and $65.39 in the last year.

The surprise announcement follows a string of contract losses for Medco, the largest PBM in terms of revenue. On Thursday, the company said it has currently lost more business than it has booked for 2012.

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